“Break into my house and I kill you” said Argentine radio host and actor Angel “Baby” Etchecopar.
Last night as Argentina usually forces you to do, he had to put his life where his mouth was.
It started with a common enough mistake, one that you may be able to get away with in less dangerous places but not Argentina: Last night his 24 year old son Federico was talking with his girlfriend in his car. You're not supposed to do that. You're a sitting duck.
The well known radio host and actor had already been involved in a home robbery attempt a few years ago and had knocked down with a punch (lucky punch in his own words) and captured one of his attackers. This time they had his son and his girlfriend at gunpoint as they forced their way inside. Inside his house he cooperated with the attackers, opened his safe, gave them watches, cash, etc. They loaded a car with a TV as well but they wanted more. Constantly beating Baby and his son they were still not satisfied and started to touch and threaten to rape his 5 month pregnant daughter and wife.
Etchecopar then, thinking quickly and actually very smart, pretended to suffer a heart attack and conveniently collapse over his night table… where he kept his Glock .40.
“Baby” shot one of the attackers eight times, killing him. His son also picked a 357 magnum and shot back. The other attacker, 17 years old, escaped wounded and was later captured when he showed up in a hospital. Given his age, he’s unlikely to spend any time in jail. There’s a 3rd man that was involved in the robbery that hasn’t been captured yet but has been identified because of the pictures in the cellphone of his dead accomplice and their Facebook pictures.
During the gunfight, Baby was shot in both legs and one hand, his son was shot in the buttocks(punctured his intestine), twice in the chest (collapsed lung) and another shot in the leg. 18 spent cases were recovered in that bedroom, eight of them 40 S&W, the rest 9mm.
“Baby” Etchecopar is recovering well in spite of an exposed bone fracture in his leg. His son is still in intensive care and fighting to survive after two surgeries.
Lets try to learn a thing or two here.
First, what was done right:
1)Being armed, of course. And the weapon of choice is also smart. A .40 Glock and a 357 magnum backup which his son managed to use.
2)Pretending to collapse over the night table where he kept the gun. That was pretty smart given that they had the drop on him. When he saw that they wanted more than the material belongings, started to touch and threaten to rape his daughter and wife and kill him, his reaction was the best given the worst case scenario it had turned into.
3)The will to fight, with any and all means. Etchecopar made clear claims of what we would do if something like this happened and he indeed lived up to it. Even though both him and his son got seriously wounded, something very hard to avoid in a gunfight inside a room at probably extreme close quarters, they are still alive and his wife, daughter and unborn grandson are fine. They could be dead if he hadn’t fought back.
As for mistakes made:
1)His son shouldn’t have been talking in the parked car with his girlfriend. This is VERY risky to do in Argentina and people that become careless like that often pay for it. Its well known that you’re much safer going into a house or bar or coffee house instead if you want to talk.
2)Etchecopar hasn’t received formal defensive shooting training, and is more likely limited to a trip to the range for typical target practice instead. While luck is a big factor, a few lessons on self defense shooting may have been put to good use in this occasion, favoring his odds a bit more.
3)There's a chance that 3 or 4 rounds of 40S&W JHP would have been enough, and that he could have moved to the second attacker after that. Based on research of many similar incidents, I know that its easy to get blinded by the rage of the fight, caught in the moment. Maybe if he had done some defensive shooting training he would have shot 3 or 4 times and quickly moved to the next bad guy. Then again maybe he did need eight rounds to drop that particulat attacker. Its so easy to be technical when you're not the one shooting it out with a couple sociopaths in a bedroom surrounded by your son wife and pregnant daughter.
Things to notice:
1) The patterns of how these things happen. The moments of vulnerability and the window of opportunity provided by one careless action such as fooling around or talking in a parked car at 10 PM. You can do that in other places, not in Argentina.
2) You are only as strong as the weakest link. Even if you do all the training and have all the mindset and awareness in the planet, if your son or daughter is carless then you are as weak as the weakest link in the group. One day they’ll show up with someone pointing a gun at their head. Work on having the entire family involved and know what to do in these situations and which risks should be avoiding.
3) “Baby” got shot in the hand which is typical of exchanging gunfire given that the hands end up placed covering your center of mass as you shoot each other.Make sure you know your non dominant hand shooting skill, single handed reloading, etc.
4) 18 rounds fired, plus maybe another six in the revolver. Still think that you can count on 5 or 6 rounds doing the trick? Better have more ammo, accuracy, ease of reloading and the ability to place quick follow up shots on target.